Neil Hill's Training Secrets

Tips From the UK Bodybuilding Legend
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Are there any exercises you wouldn’t advocate using for shoulders? 
I’m asking because I have been hitting my shoulders with a range of exercises, and my
 shoulder joints feel a bit sore now.

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There is a particular exercise that I never use and tell my athletes to avoid: the behind-the-neck press. This exercise can put unnecessary strain on your attachment points within the shoulder joint. It can potentially force your connective tissues to move in a direction in which they are not designed to do, which can ultimately lead to injuries. I do also think this exercise has the potential to injure your upper back and neck area, which is why I would never advocate this to anybody. In terms of injury prevention, that is the only shoulder exercise I would recommend that you not do, mate.

I know that you are an advocate of carbs, but I wonder why, since so many others in the industry advocate high-fat, low-carb diets.

I have found that some people work better with complex carbs and others work better with a high-fat diet. However, what I normally advocate is leaving carbohydrates in your diet when you can. If you’re starting to diet and up until that point you have been eating carbohydrates, I don’t see any reason to just cut them out completely. Of course, you may need to taper them down slightly, cycle them, or restrict them to certain times of the day. It is beneficial to have some complex carbs in your diet because they can potentially help keep your body from becoming catabolic. In the morning for instance, after fasting for eight hours, I don’t see why it is a problem eating some oats with a banana and some berries. After an intense workout, you should be taking in faster-digesting carbs immediately afterward to replenish your depleted glycogen levels, too. When your muscle glycogen levels are depleted, you run the risk of losing muscle tissue. By contrast, taking in some carbs, especially at breakfast and straight after training, shouldn’t hinder your fat-loss goals.

I have seen and heard a lot about your brutal high-rep leg workouts. My legs are a weak body part,
so can you give me a sample leg workout, please?

That question made me smile. When I used to compete, I had to train legs really hard to make them develop the way I wanted them to. Then I also had a knee injury, which ultimately led to the end of my career. This is when I started to look at new ways to train my legs that wouldn’t aggravate my knee.

So I started training with higher repetitions and using different angles to stimulate the muscles. By using much higher reps than a typical bodybuilder usually would, I was 
able to contract the muscles in my legs much better. The fact that your legs have a higher percentage of slow-twitch muscle fibers than other muscle groups within the body also means that they respond particularly well to higher-rep training. The level of blood that is being forced into the legs also means that the fascia will potentially be stretched more than if you were using lower-rep training.

In your question, you used the word brutal, and neither my clients nor I would disagree! The key to success is working at a very high intensity—going places you have never been before in a mental capacity and pushing when you really don’t want to. The truth is that you get out
 what you put in, and with my high-rep leg training you really do have to work very hard to get the best from it. It is not unusual for my clients— even the pros—to be sick after this kind of workout. Below is a sample workout to get you started; this is a typical leg session from Week 3 of Y3T training. Perform the following three exercises as one giant set with no rest between each exercise for a total of two or three giant sets. Between each giant set, take 90–120 seconds of rest. After finishing quads, hammer your hamstrings with the following three exercises—again, performed in a giant set circuit.

It is very important that you reach failure on every exercise. On the leg press, my clients won’t have reached failure until the arches of their feet are cramping. So they will use a weight at which they potentially fail at 15–20 reps, and from there they have to break it down into lower reps (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) as they get closer to 60. As I said, intensity is key here!

My arms have been 17 inches
for more than two years. I have trained them hard every week,
to no avail! Typically, I spend a good hour doing 12 sets for triceps and 12 sets for biceps with a repetition range of 8–10. Could
 you help me, please?


First, just because your arms do not measure more, it does not mean that they haven’t developed. Having said that, I do think that you are overtraining your arms, and your training does also appear to be fairly one-dimensional. There doesn’t seem to be much variation in repetition ranges or volume.

Without sounding as though I am pushing my brand, I do think that this is where Y3T training principles can benefit an athlete. For example, in Week 1, you could potentially be doing high-intensity, low-volume training with a repetition range of 6–8 reps per set. This might be just two working sets for triceps and two for biceps and going beyond failure with forced reps. In Week 2, you might increase the volume slightly, focusing on the quality of the muscle contraction as opposed to weight with a repetition range
of, say, 10–15. During Week 3, you could really go all out and go for a rep range of up to 30 using dropsets, giant sets, and supersets.

I hope that you can see the difference between this and what you are currently doing, mate. I do believe by cycling your training, you will benefit in several ways.

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